Maia 'Pepper Stars'

Updated: 18 Mar 2013

Time Out says

Rating: 4/5

Banjo-wielding young men playing alternative folk music... wait, don’t avert your eyes in a Mumford-recalling strop. Maia are nothing like the bloated stadium barn-dancers you love to hate. The up-and-coming Huddersfield quartet may boast male harmonies and a folksy aesthetic, but they’re spirited, youthful and most of all, rewarding to curious ears. Avoiding self indulgent bombast, few songs on this excellent second album outlast three minutes.

While the instruments may be oldfashioned, the song-writing is reminiscent of Talking Heads (as on the peppy ‘Living in the Alligator’) or ’60s psychedelic pop (on the essential ‘The Grandfather Plan’). Even when they’re getting their cute on (with the summery ‘Dear Io’), singer Tom Clegg’s affecting lilt manages to keep Maia riveting. An overuse of mariachi trumpets and some primitive production are the only minor quibbles. There’s so much to enjoy, it’s a perfect tonic for anyone who’s starting to use ‘folk’ as a four-letter word. Oliver Keens